I, personally, believe that I have a broad Tudor knowledge from when Henry VIII became King in 1509 until Elizabeth's reign ended in 1603, when she passed.
Specifically, I have extensive knowledge of Elizabeth's reign and that's where my true passion lies. However, I need to educate myself and become more knowledgeable of Henry VII (Henry VIII's Father), which includes the famous long time struggle of the "War of the Roses". While I educate myself, I thought it would be best to share this post.
Below is an article that was published in the BBC History Magazine in 2010 and is extremely informative.
During the second half of the 15th century, the people of England
witnessed three regional revolts, 13 full-scale battles, ten coups
d’etats, 15 invasions, five usurpations, five kings, seven reigns, and
five changes of dynasty. Little wonder then that the Wars of the Roses –
the name given to the exceptional period of instability that occurred
between 1450 and 1500 – have long been regarded as one of the most
compelling and, above all, confusing, periods of British history.
If there’s two facts that people know about the Wars of the Roses, it
is that they pitched the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster against the
White Rose of the House of York – and that they dragged on for a very
long time, taking almost a century to peter out.
Fewer people will be aware that the conflict was sparked by a
cataclysmic train of events in 1450 that saw England blighted by a
massive slump, a government quite without credit, defeat abroad, a
parliamentary revolt and a popular rebellion. It was an inability to
resolve these issues over the following ten years that brought the
Yorkists and Lancastrians to blows.
The Wars of the Roses are best conceived as three individual
The First War, from 1459–61, witnessed the Yorkist Edward IV
(1461–83) overthrowing the Lancastrian Henry VI (1422–61).
War, from 1469–71, led to the restoration of Henry VI in 1470, but ended
with Edward IV back on the throne in 1471.
The Third War, from 1483 until at least 1487, saw Edward IV’s son
Edward V (1483) deposed by the new king’s uncle, Richard III (1483–5),
who was himself defeated at Bosworth in 1485 by the first Tudor king,
Henry VII (1485–1509). Enemies of the new Tudor dynasty continued to
scheme until 1525 – though, in the eyes of the paranoic Henry VIII
(1509–47), the threat remained until 1541.
The three principal wars consisted of lightning campaigns that were
resolved quickly on the field of battle. Each of these battles bears a
name, and we know roughly where they happened. Modern archaeological
surveys have revealed scatterings of artefacts on the fields of Towton
and Bosworth, but nothing much to see. There were very few sieges:
London was threatened three times and the Tower of London taken twice.
For long periods, 1461–69, 1471–83, and after 1485, most of the kingdom –
all the south, Midlands, East Anglia and West Country – was at peace.
So how did the wars start? The clash between Henry VI and Richard
Duke of York at Ludford Bridge in 1459 is sometimes cited as their
opening act. Richard had long opposed the king but was routed at Ludford
and died in 1460. However, his allies soon declared Henry – who had
suffered mental illness – unfit to rule. In 1461 they replaced him with
York’s son, Edward IV, and confined Henry to the Tower.
At first, Edward ruled through his elder cousin, Warwick (the
Kingmaker), and then through a series of favourites. Prominent among
them was William Herbert, the new ruler of Wales, whose power was soon
seen as a threat to Warwick. In fact, it was largely to destroy Herbert
that Warwick and Edward’s brother, Clarence, rebelled in 1469, deposing
Edward and returning Henry to the throne.
But Edward wasn’t gone for long. He recovered his crown in 1471 –
after destroying his enemies at Tewkesbury – and ruled for a further 12,
relatively stable years. During this time, he moved between his palaces
in the Thames Valley, settled on Windsor for his burial and embarked on
the reconstruction of St George’s Chapel as the spiritual heart of the
house of York.
He dispatched his eldest son, Edward Prince of Wales, to Ludlow
Castle to govern Wales, and saw to it that his brother, Richard Duke of
Gloucester, became lord of the north.
This period of peace was to come to an abrupt end on Edward’s death in
1483. The king’s son and successor, Edward V, was deposed and consigned
to the Tower by the Duke of Gloucester, who was himself to meet a
violent death as Richard III two years later.
Richard may not have reigned long but he did have time to transfer
Henry VI’s body to St George’s Chapel in a symbolic act of
reconciliation with the Lancastrian line. That wasn’t enough to stop the
bloodshed. In 1485, at the battle of Bosworth, Richard was killed and
Henry VII (nephew of Henry VI) became the first Tudor king.
Shakespeare and almost everybody since has hailed Henry VII as
England’s saviour and celebrated the battle as the end of the Wars of
the Roses. In doing so, however, they have merely been regurgitating
Tudor propaganda, promulgated at once to deter resistance.
In reality, Henry had to contend with a host of plots and a
succession of rivals – this despite the fact that he had married
Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV. Their son, Henry VIII, was
thus the heir of Lancaster and York, the red and the white rose.
Yet Henry VII decided not to join in death his father-in-law, Edward
IV, and his uncle, Henry VI at Windsor, choosing instead to build a
grand new Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey for himself. This splendidly
florid structure proclaimed that the Wars of the Roses were over and
that the new Tudor dynasty had arrived.
*above came from the following site: http://www.historyextra.com/feature/wars-roses
Written by Michael Hicks, who is a professor of medieval
history at the University of Winchester. He wrote the book The Wars of the